Patrick Heinrich: Visions of Community: Japanese Language Spread in Japan, Taiwan and Korea , pp. 239-258


This paper discusses language policy behind the spread of Japanese among Japanese linguistic majorities and Japanese colonial subjects. The period discussed stretches from 1868, the year of the Meiji restoration, until 1945, when Japan withdrew from all its colonies. Policies in four polities are discussed: Ainu Mosir (Hokkaidō), the Ryukyu Islands, Taiwan and Korea. In Japan, modernization included aspects of co-lonialism and colonialist features of modernization. Hence, the policies for spreading Japanese are found to be similar, if not identical, but the policy effects differ. Japanese modernization and colonization are best discussed in connection with each other. This paper discusses the language repertoires that emerged as a consequence of Japanese language spread in the four polities studied, the limits of language policy and planning, and the limits of imagining communities on the basis of language. This allows for some general conclusions about Japan’s present-day problems with indigenous mi-norities and its Asian neighbours.

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